15 Best Teacher Retirement Gift Ideas

Teacher Giving Thumbs Up In Front Of Chalk Board

We all carry fond memories of our favorite teachers, whether we were in school yesterday or fifty years ago. Teachers impact our lives in tangible ways—with the practical knowledge we need to thrive—and also in a million little ways; a smile and a thumbs up when we do well, an encouraging word when the subject is challenging. We can often even credit teachers for guiding us toward a career, artistic endeavor, or goal that shapes our future. When it comes time to celebrate the retirement of a significant teacher in your life, finding the perfect gift is challenging. How do you encompass years of gratitude and appreciation in a single gift? We have a special place in our hearts for teachers and we’re here to help! We’ve curated a guide with our absolute favorite teacher retirement gift ideas. Make your teacher’s retirement a little extra memorable with one of these unique gifts. 

Arrange A Surprise Teacher Retirement Party

Teacher Instructing Student In Library

Nothing quite says “we appreciate you” like a surprise retirement party! Many teachers don’t expect a celebration hosted or arranged by their students, let alone a retirement party. Arranging a surprise celebration is the perfect way to remind a teacher of their impact on your life and the lives of the many students they’ve taught over the years.

Last year, a local high school choir teacher retired after over thirty years of teaching. Former students worked with the school and current students to turn his final choir concert into a surprise retirement party. The former students surprised the teacher by joining the choir on stage to sing the closing number. Afterward, with cake and drinks in hand, students shared fond memories of their time in the choir and even shared videos from graduates who lived across the country and couldn’t be at the retirement party. The choir teacher got to see firsthand how many generations of students he impacted.

Tips To Host A Successful Party for Teachers

A surprise teacher retirement party is an extra memorable way to celebrate your teacher. So where do you even begin? Every retirement party is as unique as the person you’re celebrating, but there are a few things to consider in order to make your teacher feel special.

Include As many Current And Former Students As Possible

Invite students to collaborate on a retirement memory book that you give to your teacher at the party. That way those who don’t live locally can still take part. The more memories you can share with your teacher, the better!

Invite The Teacher’s Family And Loved Ones To Take Part

Family members will love the idea of a teacher retirement party and can help create an event that is both personal and unique.

Pick A Theme

Keep the party lighthearted and teacher-centric by picking a theme related to who the teacher is, something they love, or the topic(s) they teach. This also helps others in choosing an appropriate gift to bring to the party.

Have Fun!

If there is anything all teachers have in common is their desire to impact the next generation through knowledge. Have fun reminding your teacher of the true value and reach of their career.

It’s A Time To Treat Themselves Instead Of Others

Retirement, and even the retirement party, is a time to treat yourself after a career of focusing on the wellbeing of others. This is especially true for teachers who have spent years, even decades, helping and guiding students. 

Keep the focus on your teacher at her retirement party by taking time sharing fun, humorous, and thoughtful memories. Share your class’s collaborative memory book with fun reminders of years gone by. And help your teacher treat himself throughout retirement with gifts that allow them to spend time focused on themselves. A gift card to a local spa or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant is a great way to give the gift of relaxation. You can even work together as a class or group to give your teacher a weekend away to kick off their retirement in style.

Retirement Gifts For Teachers With A Good Sense Of Humor

Not all retirement gifts need to be sentimental! While showing your teacher the value they brought to their students is important, so is picking a gift that is personal. For teachers with a great sense of humor, consider choosing a more humorous gift that gets them laughing, like the New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons.

If your teacher is interested in specific hobbies, foods, beverages, or activities, focus on a gift that speaks to who they are! For the adventurous teacher, consider a scratch-off poster of the world or a book of travel ideas. For teachers who like a good joke, create a t-shirt or mug with their favorite quote or something funny they are known for saying.

15 Best Retirement Gift Ideas for Teachers

Finding the right gift for the right occasion can be challenging. We’ve created inspiration for gift ideas for all kinds of special events, including anniversaries, high school and college graduation, birthday parties, and of course, retirement

When it comes to your teacher, there are a million ways to make their retirement feel special. These are just a few of our favorite teacher retirement gift ideas!

Because I Had a Teacher Hardcover Book

For the moments when you need a heartwarming and sentimental gift of thanks, this book is the perfect gift. Because I Had a Teacher is a picture book designed to share all of those special things that our favorite teacher taught us. It will land a special place on your teacher’s bookshelf.

Compass Necklace

This sterling silver compass necklace is a truly heartfelt teacher retirement gift. Not only does the compass symbolize the adventure ahead in retirement, but the many lives your teacher helped to shape and guide. 

Retirement Gift Box

During this season of COVID, sometimes the best and safest way to give a gift is to send something special through the mail. This adorable retirement gift box includes a hand-planted succulent (locally grown in Los Angeles), a scented candle, a personalized gift card, and fun, colorful matches. They ship the contents directly to your teacher in a beautifully printed gift box.

Wine Bottle Stickers 

If you know your teacher loves a great bottle of wine, spice it up with these humorous retirement wine bottle stickers. Give your teacher a laugh as they enjoy their wine labeled, “Sip sip, hooray!” or “Why limit happiness to just one hour? You’re retired!”

Personalized Golf Balls

Keep your teacher retirement gift personal and fun with these personalized gifts from NowThatsPersonal on Etsy! For the golf-loving teacher, give a collection of golf balls with the message “Retirement is in full swing,” or choose from many fun personalized golfing gifts!

Personalized Retirement Beer Glass

Another fun and personal gift is this personalized beer glass from DUSTandTHINGS. Have your personal message hand engraved on the mug, including your teacher’s name, the years she taught, or any special message that will make her smile every time she pours a beer.

Retirement Stepping Stone

This is the perfect gift for every teacher’s garden! This beautiful hand-painted stepping stone includes a painted chestnut tree and is completely customizable. Add a special message to your teacher, including his or her name, or even add your name and date to the back of the stone as a lasting reminder that their career as a teacher changed your life.

Steeplechase Vineyards Spa Collection Gift Basket

Give your teacher the retirement gift of relaxation with this gorgeous wine and spa gift basket. The basket includes two bottles of wine (chardonnay and merlot) and a full collection of lavender vanilla scented spa products for the perfect at-home spa night. This is a great option for the hardworking teacher who loves to relax at home with a tasty glass of wine.

Kindle PaperWhite Reader

For the book lover in every teacher, what better way to celebrate retirement than the gift of reading! The Kindle PaperWhite is an e-reader that can hold many books and magazines and is lightweight and perfect for traveling on all those post-retirement trips. You can even add to your gift with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited for 1-12 months to get your teacher started building their retirement reading library.

Retired Wine Tumbler

This fun wine tumbler is also a friendly reminder to your teacher that you will always appreciate her. The insulated rose gold tumbler, with the message “You can’t retire from being great!” serves as a lifelong reminder to your that her influence as a teacher is never-ending.

Gourmet Biscotti

While an Italian vacation may not be within reach, you can still give the sweet taste of Italy as a retirement gift. Barnett’s Gourmet Biscotti comes in an elegant gift box and includes either 12 or 24 pieces of hand-dipped biscotti cookies. Each biscotti is topped with a unique flavoring, making this a fun gift for your teacher to enjoy during her relaxing, retired afternoons with her favorite cup of coffee.

Personalized Garden Tools

Does your teacher love to garden? These personalized garden tools are an extra special teacher retirement gift and a glorious reminder that retirement means more time to spend in the garden! AllAboutImpressions offers ten different font options giving you the opportunity to give your teacher a truly personalized retirement gift. You can even turn this into a fun class gift by including a wheelbarrow of plants and seeds along with your personalized garden tools.

Personalized Cutting Board

This personalized cutting board is great for the baker or cook in everyone! If you don’t like the example message, no problem! Simply have your solid maple cutting board laser engraved by the seller. Ideas include fun quotes, sayings, or simply your teacher’s name and date of retirement.

Leather Catchall Tray

We can all use a bit more organization in our lives, your teacher included! This gorgeous leather catchall tray is a fun way to commemorate your teacher’s retirement while giving them a fun organizational tool for their home. The seller, PaperAnniversaryLove, even allows you to send a custom logo or graphic (not just lettering) to engrave on your teacher’s leather tray.

Retirement Coloring Book

This relaxing teacher retirement gift is a hint to your teacher that the next season brings with it plenty of time to enjoy life. Each page of the retirement coloring book includes fun and timely reminders to your teacher that he worked hard and now is the perfect time to relax, rest, and maybe even explore the world.

Find the Perfect Teacher Retirement Gift

Need more retirement gift ideas? We’ve got you covered! Visit Newlywords.com for more great retirement gift suggestions or to create the perfect retirement collaborative memory book. 

We believe teachers are a significant gift to society and deserve to be showered with fun, memorable, and unique gifts at retirement. Be sure to check out any of the above gifts and have fun customizing the perfect gift for your favorite teacher.

Virtual Retirement Party Ideas: Make Your Coworker’s Last Day Memorable

Every day, nearly 10,000 people reach retirement age. In 2020 alone, the number of Baby Boomers retiring increased by over 3 million from the previous year. While not everyone retires from their career at age 65, it is likely that this year will bring with it an opportunity to celebrate one of your coworkers as they head off into retirement. But with many offices spread around the globe or still maintaining work-from-home standards, how do you properly celebrate your coworker in this digital age? Enter the virtual retirement party.

While having virtual social events may be a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic, we think the idea is here to stay. As more and more companies ditch the 9-to-5 office environment, there will be plenty of opportunities for virtual celebrations. Ready to become a virtual party planning master? Start here with our guide to throwing a momentous—and memorable—virtual retirement party.

Why Should You Hold a Virtual Retirement Party?

Retirement is an incredible accomplishment. It represents years of hard work and devotion. Spending a few hours celebrating years of accomplishments is well worth the time, even when done virtually.

The moment of retirement is an opportunity to honor and encourage friends and coworkers. And just because you’re not all in the same city, state or country, it doesn’t mean the moment should pass by unacknowledged. A virtual retirement party is the perfect way to let your coworker know you will miss them, but also that their time with your company has left a mark.

Ideas for Holding a Virtual Retirement Party

A virtual retirement party may take place on a screen rather than in a home or event space, but that doesn’t mean it is any less of an event! In fact, taking your retirement party virtual enables more guests to attend from other parts of the globe. Truly make your event one to remember with these tips for hosting a virtual retirement party.

Use Apps to Facilitate Engagement
The first step to throwing a memorable virtual retirement party is to create a buzz about the event. Sending out virtual invitations through an app like Evite makes the party feel more tangible to the guests, including the guest of honor. The app also allows guests to sign a virtual “guest book” and leave fun comments to prepare for the big day.

Build on your party momentum by inviting all your coworkers to contribute to a retirement memory book. Getting the entire office to collaborate and share memories and photos helps facilitate engagement and excitement for the celebration.

Set Up a Countdown
What better way to build anticipation than to create a countdown to the big day? Virtual countdowns are easy to set up and serve as a fun way to honor your coworker throughout their last days and months with the company. Platforms like Counting Down To and Time and Date let you create a countdown clock to share with coworkers. You can even choose a retirement party theme and save the clock to your internal website or flash it up on company Zoom meetings as a reminder of the upcoming event. However you choose to use it, a countdown is a great way to add some lighthearted fun to your highly anticipated virtual retirement party.

Send Physical Gifts
While the key event will be virtual, sending physical gifts is a great way to show the guest of honor that you appreciate them. Need some retirement gift ideas? Even small, personal gifts can make a big statement! From a book by the retiree’s favorite author to travel essentials for their first big trip post-retirement, these tokens will remind recipients that they are loved. Also, don’t forget to print your office memory book and have it shipped straight to them.

Pick a Time That the Entire Team Can Attend
Whether you’re using Zoom, your own internal conferencing tool or any other video conferencing platform, finding a time when everyone can attend is essential. In-office retirement parties are an opportunity for everyone in the company to celebrate. Virtual retirement parties are no different. Choose a time when the board, committees and entire staff can pause their workday and properly celebrate.

Plan the Activities

Another way to ensure a successful virtual retirement party is to plan the activities. Video conferencing can sometimes be awkward (although, hopefully we’re all past that by now!), and being unprepared for a party can just add to that awkward feeling.

Instead, entertain guests with some fun virtual games that get people interacting, laughing and enjoying the moment. Games are a simple way to engage the entire list of attendees at your virtual retirement party while also easing the slight tension of online interaction. The best part is that virtual games are simple! We’ve even listed a few that you and your team might enjoy.

Two Truths and a Lie
A fun and easy way to get to know each other, and the guest of honor, is to play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each person shares two facts about themselves that are true and one that is a lie. Guests have to guess which is which. Hand out points for each correct guess and designate a winner at the end! Fun prizes can be anything from office bragging rights and a virtual medal to a coffee gift card for the winner’s local coffee shop.

Heads Up!
Another great virtual retirement party game is Heads Up!, a virtual take on classic games like charades. Send a link to your party guests before the big day and have them download the Heads Up! app on their phones. Divide guests into teams and enjoy a laugh with your coworkers. When it’s your turn, simply hold the phone up to your head and try to guess what is on the screen based on the clues from your team. When you get it right, you get to move on to the next word or you can skip a challenging word at the risk of losing points. Either way, your virtual party guests will have a great time.

Never Have I Ever – Office Edition
Never Have I Ever is a classic party game that comes in many forms. For a virtual retirement party, however, we recommend trying this Zoom-friendly office edition. Start by having everyone at the party hold up five fingers. The first person to go says, “Never have I ever…” followed by something they have never done around the office or during the workday. For example, “Never have I ever watched TV during a work Zoom meeting.” If anyone has done this before, they have to close one finger. Once all five fingers are closed, that person exits the game!

Plan a Virtual Escape Room
Familiar with the excitement (and tension) of Escape Room? Now you can play online with your entire company. Your virtual Escape Room is like the real thing, except instead of being in the room yourself, you and your party guests get to experience the room remotely. An Escape Room guide joins your virtual retirement party and locks themselves in the room with a camera. Your guests then look for clues and help direct the guide to escape the room. The entire process takes about 60 minutes. You must schedule this in advance, so be sure to plan ahead!

Don’t Make It Lengthy
Amid planning your coworker’s virtual retirement party, be sure to keep it fun, festive and also timely. A long, drawn-out event reminds people of lengthy work meetings, not celebrations. Keep the party on schedule with specific games and activities, and set aside a predetermined amount of time for speeches, memory sharing and well-wishes. Let guests know in advance how long the party will be, and then allow room for people to stay on longer if they wish.

Ideas for Mailing Gifts

Sending gifts to your retiring coworker is one way to make the celebrations last a little longer. Gifts also leave a tremendous impact, especially if they arrive in the days after retirement when your coworker may be missing work or their old routine.

These are a few simple gift ideas, but you can find more retirement specific gift ideas on our blog!

Send Gift Cards
One of the simplest and easiest gifts to send a retiring coworker is a gift card. You can have the entire office sign one card or have everyone send a personal card and message to flood the retiree’s mailbox on the same day/week. You can also mail a collaborative book that serves as a “gift card” from the office that your coworker will treasure for years to come.

Send Their Favorite Flower
One way to make your retiree feel celebrated is with the very tangible gift of flowers. Having flowers delivered to the front door will make anyone feel special, and this is certainly a time to emphasize how special your coworker is to the team. For those retirees who are big fans of gardening, consider sending a plant or bush instead. Find a local delivery company, or use a popular nationwide option like 1-800 Flowers or FTD.

Tips & Tricks to Ensure A Successful Virtual Retirement Party

One of the best and easiest ways to throw a successful virtual retirement party is to keep things fun, festive and on theme. This is a special opportunity to celebrate someone who has worked hard to get to where they are today. Follow these tips to keep your party running smoothly and feeling festive for everyone involved!

Honor the Guest
The entire reason you and your team are gathering online is to celebrate the guest of honor. Set aside an ample amount of time (but don’t let it go too long!) to allow people to share fun work memories, stories and personal thoughts about the retiree. You can even encourage everyone to BYOB to the party and show up with a sparkling beverage in hand so you can all make virtual toasts.

Invite Those Near & Dear to The Honoree
Just like in-person retirement parties, a virtual retirement party should include close friends and family members of the retiree. The day is extra special when the guest of honor’s spouse, children and former colleagues are there to celebrate too. Be sure to schedule some time for these special invitees to share a few words about their loved one.

Share Past Experiences of Their Career
A retirement party is the perfect time to highlight the experiences and achievements of a long and fulfilling career. Invite some of your team’s longest standing employees (and those who have worked closely with the retiree) to share some of their fondest memories and lessons learned from working with the guest of honor. This is a time for celebration, so keep stories and memories festive, positive and encouraging!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should the party last?
There is no hard and fast rule about how long a virtual retirement party should last. If you plan to include games and activities, we recommend keeping your party from 90 minutes to two hours (remember that the virtual Escape Room takes 60 min). For parties that are simply a time to share memories, 30 minutes may be enough time to celebrate.

How do you handle coworkers leaving virtually?
Encourage your coworkers to stay for the entire party to help make the guest of honor feel valued. You can even share the itinerary with everyone so that if they need to slip out early, they can find an appropriate time that won’t interrupt the festivities.

What are the most important parts of a virtual retirement party?
Making sure your guest of honor feels special is the most important aspect of a virtual retirement party. Be sure to prioritize time to share stories and celebrate the retiree’s accomplishments.

Conclusion

Retirement is an achievement worth celebrating! Thanks to technology and a little creativity, hosting a virtual retirement party for your coworker has never been easier. With a little planning, you can engage your team and plan a thoughtful event that includes games, gifts, special stories and plenty of shared memories.

For more great gift ideas to make your retiree feel celebrated and honored, check out our memory book resources and ideas.

Retirement Gift Ideas & Celebration Ideas During a Pandemic

For many, retirement is the end of a lifelong career—the achievement of service and dedication to one or many companies across the years. Others experience retirement as the beginning of a new era, a chance to pursue old passions or new dreams. Regardless, retirement is an accomplishment worth celebrating among co-workers, friends, and family. But in the midst of our current reality—a global coronavirus pandemic, nationwide shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing measures—how do you genuinely and enthusiastically celebrate your co-worker or loved one? If nothing else, 2021 continues to present us with opportunities to get creative in our approach to celebrations and gift-giving. This is especially the case with retirement gift ideas since you don’t want the celebration of a special career to be short-changed. Don’t put the needed celebration on hold quite yet! Instead, it’s time to celebrate retirement with creativity and style.

Host a Virtual Retirement Surprise Party

It’s time to host one final work Zoom call. Whether your workplace is spread across the country, globe, or all in the same city, Zoom is not just your tool for work meetings, but also virtual hangouts and party celebrations. Work with your retiree’s spouse or family to organize a surprise party via Zoom. Convince your co-worker that there is one more thing to discuss before they officially retire, and surprise them by showing up with party hats and retirement decorations on every screen.

To make it a true party, organize some games that can be played via video call. Play retirement themed Pictionary, making some of the categories related to office jokes that the retiree will appreciate. Or create a new version of Drink Talk Learn where everyone gets three minutes to share their favorite funny story about the retiree. At the end, everyone has to vote on their favorite. Create some retirement-themed awards for the winners.

Don’t forget to share your favorite sentimental stories about the retiree as well. This is a great opportunity to congratulate them on past successes and achievements, highlighting their personal impact on the company. Take a moment to recall some of the projects they helped complete, and some of the ways the company has changed over the years, emphasizing your co-worker’s role throughout those transitions.

And definitely don’t forget the cake and champagne. Make sure your retiree’s family or spouse surprises them with a retirement cake and champagne during the call so everyone can sing, cheer, and celebrate together. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a toast and cake while your co-workers virtually celebrate your retirement.

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 4.01.21 PM

Put Your Mug on a Mug

We can all use a good laugh right about now. What better way to bring cheer to your retiring co-worker than to give them a reminder of what—or who, rather—they will be missing in the office? Customize coffee mugs (we love options available at Newlywords, but we’re not biased) with a photo of each co-worker. That’s right, stick your mug on a mug and shower your retiree with a gift that will make them laugh each morning. You may not be able to throw a retirement party at this time, but you can make your co-worker feel special, and guarantee they will never forget your face.

Gravity Forms Swag

Shower Them with Office Swag

If coffee mugs with faces on them aren’t your style, check out swag.com to get ideas for other fun (and entertainingly useless) brand-related gifts you can give. The goal is to never let them forget the workplace. Put together a collection of branded tote bags, shirts with funny work quotes, photos of colleagues, and far more pens than they could ever use. Have a virtual brainstorm session with your team to come up with funny sayings or your retiree’s favorite quotes. This is an opportunity for a little lighthearted retirement and office humor. Retirement gift ideas should be fun, right?

What is VidHug? - VidHug | Help

Film a Video Montage

Video montages are a great way to collect the thoughts, photos, and encouragement of friends and family all in one place. Tools like VidHug make it even easier to organize and create an incredible video montage that includes everyone from co-workers to grandkids. VidHug allows you to send an invitation to anyone on your list. They record a video clip of themselves on any device and the VidHug team compiles a movie to present at your virtual retirement party. This is a great option for teams that are scattered around the country and for those who may not be able to make it to a virtual retirement party. Make sure everyone on your team gets a chance to share their words of support and encouragement for the retiree. And for those who have a tech-savvy team member, have fun creating a unique video with your entire staff offering up words of wisdom.

Travel Gift Pack

Get Them Travel-Ready

Retirement often presents opportunities to travel and visit family, new places, and simply explore the globe. If your co-worker has travel plans that have been put on hold because of COVID-19, you can still celebrate their retirement with travel-related gifts and inspiration. Get them travel ready with travel books for their first planned destination. Or better yet, consider putting together your own book of travel advice and thoughts. Have everyone from work share their best piece of advice or one of their favorite travel mishaps. Turn it into a collection with photos of each co-worker alongside their thoughts and travel tips.

How to sell books on Amazon: stack of books and a yellow mug in front of a wall

Say Happy Retirement With a Good Book

Does your loved one or co-worker love books? Help them start retirement with a collection of new books to add to their reading list. Have everyone at the office—as well as family and friends—each send a book with a personal note to celebrate their retirement date. If you aren’t sure what books your co-worker would love, make a list of all your favorite books from the past few years. Send one that speaks to their new season, their hobbies, or simply something fun that they can read in the garden this summer. Still not sure about the perfect book? Check out Amazon’s favorite books of the month or have everyone from work pick a different genre so the retiree is surprised with a smattering of new reading material.

The ‘High School Musical’ Cast Had A Zoom Reunion ‘Coz We Really Are All In This Together

Go Crazy and Assemble a Workplace Musical Number

COVID-19 and current stay-at-home orders have sparked an outpouring of digital innovation. Museums are providing virtual tours, opera houses are live-streaming performances, and the cast of Hamilton even jumped on Zoom to perform for a young fan. We may not all be as musically talented as the cast of Hamilton, but for workplace teams that want to get creative, your office can join the fun by creating a live or recorded retirement performance unlike any other! Invite the retiree onto Zoom (or any other group video chat tool) to experience co-workers performing a favorite musical number, a spoken word poem about the retiree, or any number of fun (and funny) performances. You don’t have to be talented to make everyone laugh and have a good time. Have fun, get creative, and spread the joy of celebrating retirement together, even when you are cities or states apart.

Example Memory Book

Organize a Retirement Memory Book

Photo books and memory books last a lifetime and allow you to share some of the best moments in your retiree’s career. Working together as a team—with both co-workers and family members—collect photos, thoughts, quotes, and memories to create a collection that will be a treasured retirement gift. If collating and organizing photos and emails from people all over the country sounds complicated, stick to incredible digital tools like Newlywords. Instead of managing emails and photos from work friends and family, you can send an invitation to everyone involved using the Newlywords platform. Invitees then add their memories straight to the platform and the Newlywords team helps you create a gorgeous memory book. One of the most beloved retirement gift ideas is a book filled with words of affirmation and cherished memories from friends throughout the years.

What are retirement gift ideas for someone who loves to travel?

retirement party gift atlas
The thing about retirement is now the retiree has all the free time in the world. And now that they’ve worked so hard and gotten so far, it’s obviously time for them to get to see the world. So invest in an atlas and bring to the party as a gift. Have coworkers, colleagues, friends and family sign it, marking pages with locations they would like to recommend the retiree visit now that they’re no longer obligated to go to work.

You might be thinking a globe would work better, but it’s harder to pack a globe in luggage. If they’re really travel-inclined, they might already be planning a trip themselves, but why not give them more ideas?

Alternatively, you could ask everyone to contribute their post-retirement travel suggestions in a hard-bound retirement memory book. Coworkers would share their travel suggestions and accompanying pictures by contributing online before the retirement party. Afterwards, you reveal this compilation of personalized travel tips as a group gift at the party!

Collaborate on a bucket list for an unforgettable group gift

birthday wish box 1

You’ve heard of bucket lists, but if you’ve worked with buckets long, you’ve figured out that they’re a little difficult to store neatly. So, whether you’re planning a birthday, anniversary or retirement party, consider a wish box! A personalized wooden box, like those bought here, is relatively easy to get your hands on, and moderately easy to make yourself. You can buy bucket list cards over here for guests to fill out and drop in the box for later storage.

birthday wish box 3
If everyone fills out an idea or two, that should keep the honoree(s) busy for quite a while. But more importantly, it’s easy to tuck a box away in a cabinet or in your luggage than it is a box. Make it waterproof and it will even survive a disastrous fishing trip, or a slightly too wild cruise.

If you want to gift something even more neatly bound, organize a collaborative memory book. Unlike a wish box, folks contribute wishes online before the party so that they have more time to think of what to write. This also works well if some people are unable to attend your event!

Five retirement party planning ideas

A colleague’s retirement can be a sentimental time. After all, it is the closing of one chapter and the embarking of another.

When planning your colleague’s retirement party, you’ll want to make sure it is fun and memorable. You should also focus on the happy, productive times they’ve had during their career. Consider the following tips to ensure the party is a success.

1. Unconventional Venues

Sometimes it’s easier to keep the venue in the office, but at other times you may want to bring the party elsewhere, such as to a restaurant or relaxing venue. Be flexible when determining the date, and make sure it’s at a time and place when all guests and colleagues can attend. If your guests might appreciate an unconventional setting for the retirement part, just make sure it’s something the retiree will enjoy. How about an art gallery space if they love art, or rent out an entire movie theater room for the evening, for your guests, or–if you can pull it off–an airport hangar if they are avid travelers.

2. Toast and Speeches

To honor the retiree, you can ask a few people to share memories and heartfelt thanks through a short, genuine speech. You could also play a PowerPoint video to showcase milestones and events throughout the years. Anyone from former bosses to family members would be suitable for giving a speech at the retirement party. Just remember to give the guests adequate time to plan their speeches prior to the event. If you know anyone who is a member of Toastmasters Club, an international public speakers and communicators club, it could be a wonderful, professional addition. Check this site, Retirement Quotes, for sample speech templates you can use for creating your own speeches.

3. Retirement Memory Books

Plan this one in advance: Ask everyone to contribute a retirement wish or share a story about the retiree. This retirement memory book is like a huge group scrapbook to be treasured forever. Set up the online collection page, give your guests the link so they can share their pictures and messages, and have it printed and mailed to you to gift at the retirement party as the ultimate group gift.

4. Themed Playlist

Quite a few songs will work for the “retirement” and “relaxation” theme of your event. If your guests are game for ad-lib performances, you could even make karaoke a lively part of the entertainment. Some of the songs you might choose are:

  • “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen
  • “Hit the Road, Jack” by Ray Charles
  • “When I am 64” by the Beatles
  • “Young at Heart” by Doris Day and Frank Sinatra
  • “Vacation” by the GoGos
  • “V A C A T I O N” by Connie Francis
  • “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary

Of course, you could also prepare a playlist of your celebrant’s favorite songs. To make things easier, here are a couple of retirement song playlists from Spotify and 8tracks.

5. Fun Dress-Up Party

Another twist on fun parties is asking guests to come dressed in something that reminds them of the retiree or celebrant. Maybe people will come as the celebrant’s favorite actor, or what they wanted to be when they grew up (airplane pilot), or themes based on their favorite travels (think summer in Italy!). The options here are endless. Pinterest has plenty of visuals for costume ideas, if your guests need help with originality and creativity.

There are many ways to send off that special colleague into retirement. With a little advance planning and creativity, you can make it a retirement party that he/she will never forget!